challenges, change

Letting Go

It’s hard to let go of something or someone you have invested so much time, money, mental energy on. A job. A significant other. A sport. A car. A pet. A treasured keepsake.

Unfortunately we all have to let go of people, things or even places for one reason or another. It can be hard. It will be hard. It is hard. Time doesn’t stop but healing of sorts begins. When you let go, there is a release. A release of pain, tears, anger amongst other emotions or feelings.

I am in a letting go phase of sorts. Letting go of things I don’t control. Letting go of things that consume my mental energy. Letting go of stress. Letting go of people who suck the joy out of me. Letting go of places with not so good memories.

Letting go is part of life. Writing for me helps with the letting go process. Sometimes it’s a journal entry. Sometimes it’s a calendar note. It could even be a blog post or a book chapter. As 2022 approaches I am focusing on mindset challenges in blocks of time in which I measure my progress. Some examples are below:

100 days of fitness

50 days of meditation 

25 days of travel

25 days of positive praise

22 days of generosity 

Now I haven’t decided if I am taking up all 365 days or if I’m putting a 2022 spin on my number or if I’m choosing the number 50 as that’s how old I will be in 2022. Or maybe I will do some combination thereof.

Either way I am focusing on me. My progress. My ability to tune out the people, the places, the obstacles of life that are weighing me down or stealing my joy. I’m letting go or cleansing in 2022.

fitness and nutrition

Six Pounds

How much exactly does six pounds weigh?

Is six pounds of fat the same as six pounds of stress? 

Does eating six pounds of ice cream mean you will weigh six more pounds on the scale?

How many inches off your body is six pounds?

Is it worth it to abstain from alcohol to remove six pounds from your body?

Is it worth it to avoid pizza to keep six extra pounds off your body?

The questions above are really just a few of the many questions many people ask of themselves when they are monitoring their food intake to ultimately live healthier. For each person there are variables and of course obstacles. No two people will ever have the same journey of six pounds.

Whether the six pounds go on or off there was a story behind the why. It could be hard work or it could be grief and more. Variables. Journeys. Stories. Ups. Downs.

Everything in between. What is your story? Do you have six extra pounds that you would like to lose? Did you lose six pounds and now have sags where you don’t want them?

Is six pounds even worth writing about? Losing weight takes effort by the individual but may require a community for support. Gaining weight is normally about choices and environmental conditions. It could also be related to many other things.

What does six pounds represent emotionally? Can that six pounds weigh more like twenty to the person carrying the weight? What about a person with an eating disorder? One who struggles to maintain weight? What does a six pound loss weigh emotionally for this person?

Non-scale victory. NSV is a term I’ve seen before. Your victory may be another’s loss. Different journeys. Different stories. Physical and emotional weight. How do the differ or are they the same?

Just a post to ponder today.

perspective

If There’s Anything I Can Do…

There are so many overused sayings right now. Phrases that are just float in one ear and out the other…a year like no other. Unprecedented. Look a little different. Blah blah blah. We hear them so much they lose their meaning.

And then there are the ones that are not only overused but undermeant. One biggie: thoughts and prayers. And the subject of this little rant-ish post: “if there’s anything I can do…”

It’s natural for many of us to want to offer help. Really, it is. I am in this camp and readily offer to give aid when people are in a pinch, a tough spot, or in a full-blown crisis. It’s in my nature (and my enneagram.)

But in recent weeks I’ve wondered… do we really mean it? Or is it just empty comments to make us feel better about the powerlessness we might feel in times of turmoil? What might helping mean?

A friend has a relative in the hospital. They need someone to sit with them in the waiting room. They may need a disinterested friend to sit with them as they talk to the doctor. They need childcare. They need someone to clean their house, take care of their dog. They need grocery shopping. They need respite support.

A co-worker has car trouble. They need to get to work. They need someone to pick them up, take them home, take them out on errands. Take them to the repair shop.

An elderly neighbor is isolated at home. They need technical help with online billpay. They need someone to drive them to doctor’s appointments. They need companionship. They need someone to connect with. A ride to the senior center. A walk at the park. A help with household tasks and chores. They need stimulating talk and even the occasional adventure.

So many people have needs. It’s actually overwhelming to think of all the ways that others may need help. Some of these remain invisible. People don’t ask others for what they might need. We are afraid of inconveniencing others. Afraid to share our vulnerability. Afraid to need others.

I do get this because there are many times we ask for help and people bail out at the last minute. Why say “if there’s anything you need” if you don’t really mean it?

On the flip side, if you do ask someone for something, expect them to come through. It’s frustrating to sign up to give help then have that blown off at the last minute. If you actually ask for help, mean it.

Logistics can be a nightmare. Yes, there is often some measure of juggling, reprioritizing, shuffling needed. People are worth it. There is no merit badge for suffering in silence.

Whatever it is you say or do, mean it. Don’t drop in empty offers of help to make yourself feel better. Be sincere. Not someone who gives too much lip service and not enough actual service.

perspective

Let the Tears Come

You could hear it coming…a pause that lasted a little too long. The turn away from the microphone. Then, when she turned back, the tell tale crack in her voice. Tears.

The people around me became visibly and audibly uncomfortable. Squirming in chairs. A woman a few feet away recoiled, mumbling “oh no, oh don’t” under her breath. Crying isn’t allowed.

What is it about crying that gets people upset? Why is it wrong to do it in public? In a speech, ok, blubbering tears may make you harder to understand, but still. Why is that strong emotion supposed to be kept inside, kept out of sight?

For me, crying isn’t unusual. I cry when I’m happy. I cry when I’m touched by something. I cry when I’m overwhelmed or upset. And of course, I cry when I’m sad. I cry at commercials, photos, memories, songs, all kinds of stuff.

Sometimes people say crying is a sign of femininity and, therefore, weakness. I disagree and this is sexist, People’s discomfort with emotion is the real pathology. Humans are feeling beings. I am sure we all know examples of people who keep all their emotions bottled up. Sometimes those people are cold. Sometimes they wait and explode.

So I say, let the tears come. Keep talking as you weep. There are beautiful and tragic things in this world and it is ok to react to them, respond to them, and let people see us resonating deeply with this mixed-up universe.

Feeling isn’t weakness.

friendship, giving

Listen Up!

I often talk about active listening skills in professional settings. I often challenge many participants (especially males) in those environments to engage in activities that test their ability to actively listen.

It may not be every male who can’t listen but it is definitely a higher number than women by far. I often think about the why of this…

Listening is the greatest gift you can give to another human. Anyone can give quick advice when somebody has a problem but those who are actively listening can hear your emotion, feel your pain and generally connect with you. Listening takes time. Listening requires one to be patient.

When I think of my own life and frustrations, I think of how my spouse doesn’t listen a lot of time. Doesn’t engage or empathize with anyone who has an issue or struggle. This makes me think back to something my mom taught me at a young age. Never pass judgment on somebody until you have walked a day in their shoes.

In order to be supportive or helpful one has to be willing to set their own feelings to the side, get down on your level, listen and really relate to your issues or struggles. This doesn’t even have to occur face to face!

If you are struggling and you text your life partner, one would hope they could read your words and really listen to your hurt. Unfortunately, I have seen first hand that many close to me are grossly incapable of doing this. 

I think this honestly comes down to their inability to get down on your level. Feel the hurt. It’s a lack of genuineness. Ask yourself, who do your reach out to when you need to talk? Is it your mom? Your best friend? Your sibling? Your spouse? Who?

Then ask yourself who will listen to you when you feel troubled? Is it the same person? Maybe it’s more than one person. The point is you are never going to reach out to the person who lectures you, passes judgment on you, or just brushes you off.

In order to be a better listener you need to give of yourself. You need to put the phone down and listen to the person in front of you. Maybe you need to stop playing a video game to read the words of a loved one.

Today more than ever our words are powerful. In today’s digital world words are a big way of communicating. Sending a note of praise. Sending a text of good will. Even sending an emoji with a smile is positive communication. We are all capable but not everyone does it.
Positive communication opens the door for building trust. One day somebody may need you. They may need you to hear or read their words. They may need you when they are struggling.

If you are not capable of using your active listening skills you may never hear or read those words. It’s unfortunate that many I know struggle in this area. This why I am opting to write this post.

If one person can make a change based on this blog, I feel like I have made an impact. Listen up. Turn on your antennas. Today’s world is hectic and crazy. We are all busy. We are all trapped in a digital world. But we are all capable of listening to words spoken or words written or even emailed / texted if we just slow down, pause and think about what another is saying. 

Remember “tell me more” offers the one person with words hope that somebody is there to listen to them. Offering hope is free.

I know I am making it a point to listen more listen to all around me and I encourage you to do the same. It’s a new year. Why not make it a goal to be a better listener?

Listen up!